What to eat before, during and after your next workout

If you prefer to break a sweat in the morning, experts are divided on whether you should eat ahead of time

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – It’s the season of exercise and getting in shape, but are you eating the right things before, during and after your workouts?

Scientists have long known that what you eat can make or break a workout and possibly affect your fitness results.

Dr. Mike Sevilla from Family Practice Center of Salem explained the following research live on WKBN First News Saturday Morning about how important food can be to working out.

Nutritionists say quality carbohydrates are important before a workout and lean proteins are important after a workout.

Nancy Cohen, a professor in the department of nutrition at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, suggests eating carbs, but not too many, before exercising.

She recommends consuming 1 to 4 grams of carbs per every 2.2 pounds of body weight if you are planning to exercise for longer than an hour.

To put that in perspective, a medium banana has about 27 grams of total carbohydrates.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that if you get 2,000 calories a day, aim to consume between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates, according to the Mayo Clinic.

She also suggests to eat about one to four hours before working out.

But, if you prefer to break a sweat in the morning, experts are divided on whether you should eat ahead of time.

“It should be your own decision on whether to eat breakfast before or after exercise,” said Stuart Phillips, a professor at McMaster University in Canada and the director of the McMaster Center for Nutrition, Exercise and Health Research.

“I work out before breakfast every day because that’s when I like to work out. I don’t take in anything other than perhaps a cup of coffee most times or perhaps a slice of toast. My big breakfast comes after. But that’s not to say that’s good or bad. That’s just what I do,” Phillips said.

A review paper by researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia suggests carb ingestion can improve endurance exercise performance.

The researchers assessed 50 previous single- or double-blind, randomized studies on carb ingestion and endurance exercise. They concluded that the data in the studies provided evidence that consuming carbs can enhance endurance exercise performance in adults.

“One of the most important things to do during exercise is hydrate. If your workout is 45 minutes or less, fluids may be all you need to keep you going,” Cohen said.

Cohen says to munch on protein after exercising, like dairy products, eggs, meat and poultry.